How writers find ideas and build a story
Most notable authors have a method. It can be conscious and formally detailed or be an acquired habit. The best writers, those who seek to arouse public interest and do not write for their own pleasure, are following a method. Using a method leverages the capabilities of the brain, and this is part of mentalism.
But what methods are well-known writers? We will reveal!
The questions of George Orwell
He wrote the most famous book of science fiction in the World: 1984. His method: before to put each sentence on paper, he asks himself a series of questions:
- What I'm saying?
- What words will express it best?
- What image or formula will make it more clear?
- This image will it be fresh enough to produce an effect?
- Can I make it shorter?
- Have I said something awkward that can be avoided?
- Is there a simpler word that can replace such a word?
- The passive mode can it be replaced by the active mode?
Stephen King, his 7-point method
He was as scriptwriter than writer and one of the most prolific, so it could not work without using a method. Here is how he describe it:
- Go to the point.
- Write a first draft. Do not touch it for a while.
- Shorten your text.
- Be relatable and honest. Describe the people as they are, with the good and the bad.
- Do not care too much about what others think.
- Read a lot.
- Write a lot.
Kurt Vonnegut's 8 rules
Prolific science fiction writer who forms part of the golden age, with Van Vogt, Farmer, Asimoz.
- Use the time of the other (the reader), so he or she will not have the feeling of having wasted his time.
- Give the reader at least one character that he can identify to.
- Each character must want something, even if it's just a glass of water.
- Every sentence must do one of two things: reveal a character or advance the action.
- Start as close as possible to the end. (A way of saying that we must be brief.)
- Be a sadist. As sweet and innocent your main character can be, let him suffer the worst things - so the reader can know of what he is made.
- Write for one person. If you open a window to greet the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
- Give the reader as much information as possible as early as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such an understanding of what is happening, where and why, they could finish the story themselves, even if the cockroaches eat the last page.
A. E. Van Vogt and 800 words
The most imaginative writers of science-fiction had two methods: one to facilitate his writing task while making his books more interesting because more rhythmic, the other for ideas.
Some critics found Van Vogt overrated. As for this, please refer to the 5th rule of Stephen King.
The rule of 800 words
- The rule of 800 words was invented by Gallishaw and systematized by Van Vogt. A book is composed of scenes, each introducing an event and ending with the conclusion of this event, and consists of approximately 800 words. This gives a rhythm.
- The fictional sentence e is an invention of the author: each sentence must contain an emotion, give a point of view.
- By using and repeating the words for their sound, he creates an emotion.
- Each scenario leads to two threads: A primary plot generates a subplot that is also solved the same time.
How to find ideas
Van Vogt was married Edma Mayne Hull, also writer, but they were not sharing the same bedroom, thankfully. Because he settled his awakening to ring every hour.
Awakened in his dreams, the author was eager to note the images they gave it to enrich his books of amazing creatures and worlds.
And often, a dream is the answer to a problem that has been ruminating unsuccessfully throughout the evening.
As we can see these methods are rather complementary. One of the most remarkable thing is that some authors (eg Van Vogt), awareness coming, they are released and ceased to apply their own method to their books. At the same time they have lost their quality and interest, in the opinion of all critics.